Steven Gerrard insists that Ralf Rangnick needs time to put his stamp on Manchester United and insists Aston Villa are not under-estimating the size of their FA Cup task at Old Trafford.
Interim United boss Rangnick has had a turbulent week after a first defeat of his reign to Wolves was followed by reports of dressing room disharmony, with as many as 17 players said to be unhappy.
But Villa boss Gerrard is taking no notice of the noise swirling around United, as the former Liverpool midfielder makes his FA Cup managerial bow against a familiar adversary.
“I think everyone still respects the fact that Manchester United are a good team at Old Trafford,” Gerrard said ahead of Monday’s third-round tie.
“They are capable of beating anyone there if they have a good night. There certainly will be no disrespect of the opponent we’re going to face.
“When new managers take over they need time to put their identity and philosophy on it.
“If you analyse their results they haven’t been as bad as what people are suggesting.
“I’ve analysed it properly and I don’t get involved in some of the things that are said about opponents, managers or players.
“Everyone knows Manchester United deserve that respect in terms of what level they are operating at.”
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Gerrard has special FA Cup memories
Gerrard graced the FA Cup with distinction during his time as a player, winning the competition in 2001 and 2006.
As Liverpool captain in 2006, he produced one of the great FA Cup final performances against West Ham in Cardiff.
Gerrard scored twice and his sensational stoppage-time equaliser from distance made it 3-3 before the Reds went on to win a penalty shoot-out.
He said: “In terms of history it means a lot because I’ve had a good level of success. Some of the highlights of my career came in this competition.
“It’s a real tradition, a special competition for everyone who’s English and British because we know it very well.
“Even when foreigners come into the country and you’re having conversations with them, the FA Cup always comes…